‘MK to rule KZN with ANC as opposition’

Former KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu. | Bongani Mbatha / Independent Newspapers

Former KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu. | Bongani Mbatha / Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 9, 2024


Durban — KwaZulu-Natal faces a lot of challenges which will demand firm leadership from both the executive and those playing an oversight role.

So says economist Professor Bonke Dumisa, who noted that the problems of the province were similar to those of South Africa, and therefore required bold leadership, even from opposition benches.

He was responding to a call from former KZN premier Willies Mchunu who has urged his ANC comrades to allow the uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MKP) to run the KZN government while the ANC assumed the position of official position, arguing that this would put the ANC in a better position to criticise the government of the day without being seen to be party to it.

In a letter widely spread on social media, Mchunu argued that by allowing other parties to form a government, the ANC would make a better impact in holding government to account, while the leadership concentrated on a programme of rebuilding and uniting the ANC into a powerful and formidable force.

Mchunu conceded that his view may not be a popular with the rank and file of the ANC, but insisted this was a view he would continue to hold, pointing to how this could help the ANC in regaining lost ground.

“I believe that it is the only principled position that our electorate will respect. They may even be prepared to listen to us when we pursue the programme of uniting the ANC, of course, provided that we humble ourselves and work with them at their level and earnestly, and properly address their misgivings,” Mchunu said.

The former premier warned against the pursuit of a government of provincial unity from which the MKP was excluded, pointing out that this would enhance the perception that the ANC had become arrogant over the years.

Dumisa said there was merit in Mchunu’s argument, and a proper oversight role could help unmask the myth behind the MKP’s quick-fix solutions.

Pietermaritzburg and Midlands Chamber of Business CEO Melanie Veness said unemployment, inequality and poverty could not be resolved without an environment conducive to economic growth.

“To retain and attract investment and to grow new businesses, the environment needs to be safe and secure and have a reliable infrastructure. Businesses need to be able to access the necessary skills and we need a functioning logistics system. This means that all provincial departments and SOEs play a critical role in determining our future success,” said Veness. She highlighted safety, security and stability as key to KZN, adding that the province was seen as volatile and unsafe.

“It damages our image and our economy – it drives disinvestment, hampers the emergence and growth of new SMMEs and discourages tourism and donor funding. People need to feel safe to visit us, to invest, trade and live here,” Veness said.

With many eyes fixed on the negotiations for a possible government at provincial and national levels, KZN is set to be well represented in the National Assembly with individuals across party lines set to be sworn in within a few days.

With 400 seats in Parliament split across parties, the ANC will send about 15 members from KZN who will include former premiers Sihle Zikalala and Senzo Mchunu.

The two also served as ministers in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Cabinet as Public Works and Water and Sanitation ministers respectively and given that they feature on the ruling party’s top 20 list are expected to be in the Cabinet.

Sunday Tribune